top of page

Unraveling the Differences Between CMYK and RGB and Their Impact on DTG Printing

When preparing artwork for DTG printing, it is essential to comprehend the differences between CMYK and RGB colour modes. Both colour modes serve different purposes, and their utilisation can significantly impact the final printed result. In this blog post, we will explore the dissimilarities between CMYK and RGB and delve into how they affect DTG printing.

CMYK Colour Mode:

CMYK, which stands for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Key (Black), is a subtractive colour model widely used in print applications. In DTG printing, the CMYK colour mode plays a crucial role in achieving accurate colour reproduction on fabric. Here's how CMYK affects DTG printing:

  1. Colour Conversion: When preparing artwork for DTG printing, RGB images need to be converted to CMYK. This conversion is necessary because the DTG printer uses a combination of CMYK inks to reproduce colours on fabric. However, it is important to note that the conversion process may result in slight colour shifts due to the different colour gamuts and limitations between RGB and CMYK.

  2. Colour Limitations: DTG printers typically use a limited number of ink channels, usually CMYK with additional white ink for printing on dark garments. Therefore, the CMYK colour mode restricts the range of colours that can be accurately reproduced on fabric. Vibrant and neon colours often pose challenges in DTG printing, as achieving the same level of intensity as in RGB can be difficult with CMYK inks.

RGB Color Mode:

RGB, which stands for Red, Green, and Blue, is an additive colour model primarily used in digital applications such as screens and displays. While RGB is not directly used in DTG printing, understanding its impact is still important. Here's how RGB relates to DTG printing:

  1. Artwork Creation: Many designers create their designs using RGB colour mode in digital software since it provides a broader range of colours and is more suited for screen-based media. However, as mentioned earlier, these RGB images need to be converted to CMYK for DTG printing to ensure accurate colour reproduction on fabric.

  2. Colour Conversion Challenges: When converting RGB images to CMYK for DTG printing, there may be limitations in reproducing certain RGB colours accurately. RGB often includes vibrant and neon colours that are challenging to match using CMYK inks. This can result in subtle colour shifts or the need for manual adjustments to achieve the desired output.

Optimising DTG Printing for Colour Accuracy:

To ensure the best possible colour accuracy in DTG printing, consider the following tips:

  1. Work in CMYK: When designing artwork for DTG printing, it is advisable to start and work in the CMYK colour mode from the beginning. This helps avoid any surprises or unexpected colour shifts when converting from RGB to CMYK later on.

  2. Collaboration with Printers: Establish a good working relationship with your DTG printing provider and communicate your colour expectations clearly. They can offer valuable insights into colour capabilities and provide guidance on achieving the best results.

While RGB is commonly used for digital media, converting artwork to CMYK for DTG printing ensures accurate colour reproduction on fabric. By being aware of the limitations and considering colour management techniques, designers and print providers, we can work together to achieve the best possible colour accuracy in DTG printing, resulting in vibrant and visually appealing custom garments.


bottom of page